What’s Left?

Dad has been gone almost a month, and his death has hit me harder than I think most everyone around me realizes. Dad’s absence has forced me face my idea of “family” and the fact I do not have much of one. Tony and Ruthie sleep beside me as I write this (and weep). I have finally come to understand (I think) the love that Tony has for me, and I am learning that he shows it in his own way — it is true.

I look at the “family” Mom and Dad have left behind, though, and I am sad. First, there is me. They were caring and giving people, but I feel like nothing more than a cold and empty vessel. I am overly sensitive and give too freely of my time and talents, but I don’t really feel like I am truly warm and caring. I think I ran out of “warm and caring” feelings a long time ago (except when it comes to dogs). Most of the time, I feel like I am burnt out and resentful. It’s probably why I am more comfortable with dogs than people. I think Dad was ultimately disappointed in me because I was so cold and mechanical with him in his final days. I know he wanted to love me, but I think he was frustrated that I was not as warm and fuzzy as my sister and brothers.

Mom spent all of our joint lives trying to fix me. I was never skinny enough, stylish enough, mannerly enough, kind enough, or anything she wanted me to be. I imagine most mothers have ideas of what they want their daughters to be, and I must appalled my mom at virtually every turn. Of course, I don’t think she ever understood that it hurt me to the core that she never seemed to love the person I was.

My sister. It’s funny. Looking back, I cannot think back to a single period of time when we ever really got along. Ever since I can remember, I have always been sort of afraid of my sister. I can remember countless times when she literally stomped her foot to get her way. She would demand something from Mom and Dad, and stomp her foot if she did not get it. I can remember thinking “I would never do that!” I can remember all the times used to make myself a glass of iced tea, and she would demand a sip, even though I had an issue with germs. She always bullied me into giving her a sip because I ended up being more afraid of her than the germs. Every single time we had a childhood fight, she would scream at me “You”re a fat pig, and you don’t have any friends!” I can still remember how I would brace myself to hear those words every time we fought. It was brutal.  As we got older, she would scream things like “At least I am not a professor because I couldn’t cut it as a lawyer.” I have never forgotten any of the hurtful things she has ever shouted at me during fights, and it is clear to me that she hates and has no respect for me. She threw a fit at my wedding and tried to ruin because she did have the she thought she deserved in my wedding.

Brother A. I think he tries to maintain some sort of relationship with me because he thought he saw me almost die one time. It scared him so he worries about me on occasion. That said, I don’t trust him, and he is not responsible with money or property.

Brother B and his wife keep score. Brother B and I used to be close, but since he got married, he does not even seem to want me involved in his kids’ lives. It is very hurtful. I feel like I am the crazy aunt that my sister and brothers want to pretend does not exist.


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